Rihanna is notorious for being an inclusive and woke icon, so fans were heartbroken when they felt she appropriated Chinese culture on a recent magazine cover. But upon closer review, others weren't so sure it was appropriation at all. 

Unfortunately, the artist has been called out for appropriating Asian cultures before, so the Harper's Bazaar China magazine cover was an even more sensitive subject. 

Cultural appropriation is sometimes a tricky subject and not always easily determined. When a majority group takes on a culture for their own personal gain, then appropriation is evident. But because Rihanna worked with a team from China on this Chinese publication, some argued that it was appreciation instead. Ultimately, what's important is listening to marginalized groups when they feel something is insensitive. 

The magazine cover was orchestrated by a team of Chinese designers, photographers, and artists. 

Rihanna wore traditional Chinese attire and hair and makeup styles. Initially, people praised the artist for the fashionable and striking cover, but then some started questioning whether it was appropriative. One of the main arguments against appropriation is that a team of Chinese people put together the ensemble. 

The makeup and hair pieces emulated traditional Chinese items. 

Rihanna was sure to tag all of the people who worked on the shoot. Chen Man, a visual artist and photographer, shot the photos, while Moodsight, a creative fashion studio in China, provided the artistic direction for the ensembles. Once again, the businesswoman was praised for the high-fashion cover shoot. 

Harper's Bazaar China also shared the shoot to its Instagram. 

Indisputably the beauty looks are gorgeous, and her nail art is to die for. But it's important to understand the meaning behind all of Rihanna's looks. The magazine captioned this series of photos from the shoot, "Singer, icon, entrepreneur...... Rihanna ( @badgalriri) has different titles and gets more and more influence at the same time. With the influence, she chooses to make a voice for the minority, showing the incredible feminine power." 

Even dedicated fans were quick to question the attire that the singer was wearing. 

One person wrote on Twitter, "i know we all love her, but why isn't this cultural appropriation? or is it and nobody cares bc it's rihanna? or is it just 'fashion'?" 

It's difficult to call out a star who has so many fans and makes positive strides in inclusivity, but even she isn't immune to the criticisms that come with adopting another culture's garb and beauty. 

The greatest argument against Rihanna appropriating the culture is that she wasn't attempting to use it for her own personal gain. 

Because the Kardashians appropriate cultures so often that they've been nicknamed "culture vultures," it's easy to compare what they do to other potential appropriators. This person on Twitter noted the important distinction as to why Rihanna's cover was not similiar to Kim's attempt to trademark the name of a traditional Japanese robe. 

"See the difference in appropriation and appreciation. Rihanna didnt trademark and make it hers whens it not, she embraced it and had people from that culture design her putting their culture into their own ideas. She is just the model and shes doing it flawlessly," the tweet reads. 

Some people called out Rihanna fans for being selective in their cancel culture. 

One supporter pointed out that the shoot was for the specific Chinese publication, so it was appreciating the culture as opposed to appropriating it. "Cultural appropriation is the adoption of certain elements from another culture without the consent of people who belong to that culture. Rihanna was approved and STYLE by a CHINESE platform, Kim K wasn't approved by a Asian community (to my knowledge)." 

While the argument that Rihanna's cover was sprung from the minds of Chinese artists, it's also important to note that the editors and designers at Harper's Bazaar China are not representative of every person in that culture. 

One person tweeted, "y'all Rihanna popped up with this on my tl and people are saying it's not cultural appropriation cause it was approved by a team of chinese people as if a couple chinese fashion designers looking for $$ and attention have it in their best interest to care about what's insensitive." 

Some were frustrated that Rihanna was let off the hook for so-called appropriation, but others thought it wasn't comparable with other instances. 

One person tweeted along with the magazine cover, "So y’all gonna stay quiet when rihanna does it huh." And one person replied, "A full Chinese team of hair, makeup and stylists wanted her to represent the clothes on the front cover means that they were happy that she was wearing traditional clothes from their culture."